Opinions Relating to Orders - 2021

Grzegorczyk v. United States

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, with whom JUSTICE BREYER, JUSTICE KAGAN, and JUSTICE GORSUCH join, dissenting from the denial of a grant, vacate, and remand order. Neither the Federal Government nor federal courts are immune from making mistakes. Accordingly, on rare occasions, after the Government prevails in a case in a court of appeals, the Solicitor General asks this Court to grant a petition for certiorari, vacate the judgment below, and remand (GVR) in light of an error or an intervening development. Such requests occur in only a handful of the several thousand cases this Court considers every Term on its certiorari docket. When they are made, however, they are often of enormous consequence to the nongovernmental party. They may affect a petitioner’s deportation, the length of a petitioner’s prison sentence, or even a petitioner’s eligibility for the death penalty. Today marks the second instance this Term in which this Court has refused to issue a GVR order, notwithstanding the Solicitor General’s confession of error, in a criminal case with great stakes for the individual petitioner. See Coonce v. United States, 595 U. S. _ (2021) (SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting). Through these cases, the Court appears to be quietly constricting its GVR practice. Here, it deprives petitioner Zenon Grzegorczyk of an opportunity to remedy an unlawful 7½-year component of his prison sentence, despite the Government’s support.